A large number of these records could be assimilated to an unofficial sub-genre of house music that we like to call “narrative house”, for its strong evocative power. Because even if they didn’t get covers, their titles (titles of the EPs or titles of the tracks they contain), but also their melodies, composition and sonic textures have the ability to give birth to a myriad of mental pictures illustrating as many fantasy stories in the listener’s mind. These innovative records were made at a time where the future still seemed to carry big hopes and fears. Informatics and electronic were starting to invade homes and allowed people often devoid of musical training and money to compose the soundtrack of the future, authentic sonic utopias.
Through their innovative use of synths, drum machines and sequencers, all these musicians had a particular fascination for new technologies and foretold the rise of the machines (the track computer madness by Steve Pointdexter embodies this idea perfectly). A new era was starting, and these artists expressed it with messianic accents borrowed from the gospel spirituality in which they grew up. We Have Arrived by Glenn Crocker (Glenn Underground) or Free Yourself by Virgo echoes with enthusiasm this futuristic new age. Sometimes the future gets darker and the utopia turns into dystopia like in “Brave New World” from Blake Baxter, a direct reference to the work of Aldous Huxley.
Listening to “The Land of Dreams” by G-strings (which may refer to the novel of the same name written by James Blaylock), transports us into fantasy lands or extraterrestrial landscapes. “Spaced Out” and “Mind over Matter” by Terrance Mc Donald evokes altered states of conscioussness induced by musical trance or drugs. “Sexuality” by Blake Baxter, or “When You Hold” me by Master C&J illustrate the synthetic romances that occur in clubs, between two stromboscope flashes surrounded by artificial smoke.
The modernist aspirations of these records are not only revealed through their titles. They also appear in their often minimalistic compositions in terms of instrumentation, paired with their maximal aesthetic (grandiloquent melodies and sound effects) aiming at pop efficiency (on the dancefloor, or in an emotional / melodic point of view). The quite rudimentary means at the disposal of these artists, as well as the fact that they experimented production methods free of studtio normalization also give some kind of refreshing naïveté to these records.